Govt MP: Fast-track Puhoi


The Speaker of the House, Rodney’s National MP, Dr Lockwood Smith, today urged the NZTA to fast track the planned Puhoi to Wellsford highway process.

“This is a Government project and the Government wants it completed,” Dr Smith said in an impassioned plea to NZTA representatives at a meeting of community leaders arranged by Rodney Mayor Penny Webster.

At the meeting, Mrs Webster insisted there has to be access to and from the proposed motorway for the Waiwera, Puhoi and Mahurangi West communities. She said that access was essential for the entire district’s economic future and for the safety of road users.

Other local community representatives supported her stand with one saying the lack of access would “kill the town and potentially kill us if we are forced to again use the old (Waiwera) route.”

Dr Smith, pointing to the proposed time-line, which would not see the motorway completed before 2022, said the Transport Agency should be working to shave at least three years off the construction period.

“Let this community be in no doubt of my commitment to this project and my intent to act as their representative to get it finished, and meeting the community’s needs. “

In response, NZTA northern regional director Wayne Macdonald says this was still the start of the consultation process.

“Nothing yet was hard and fast, he said. “These projects always evolve and they take their shape from community input.”

He agreed to the mayor’s request to extend the period for submissions on the access issue by a further two weeks.

Mrs Webster indicated she would organise a community reference group to ensure the community voice continues to be heard throughout the agency’s deliberations.

The chair of ARC’s transport committee, Christine Rose, who was also present said the regional council supported the concept of an improved northern route but was still to be convinced that it should be any more than an improvement to the existing State Highway 1 route.

She suggested that more time and consultation was needed.




  1. Anthony M says:

    well putting in a massive polluting motorway could kill the town too. honestly, some people are abosolute rednecks!

  2. George D says:

    Good to know he’s for the careful use of public money .

    Seriously, he’s just asked us to throw away due process and any consideration of whether it actually stands up (which of course it doesn’t with that negative BCR).

  3. karl says:

    Yes please. We can take the money for the fastracking from projects like healthcare and education. Everyone knows they have as little economic benefit as public transport!

    The worriesome thing is that this may well hurt Christine Rose’s bid for reelection against Penny Webster. The locals may well know that compared to a CBD tunnel, Puhoi-Wellsford has a horrible BCR. But for them, a motorway to their communities may well be more attractive than a tunnel for rail-using townies. Plus, the “lets do it!” crowd is always more engaging for voters than someone who - gasp - advocates for sensible, more thoughtful progress.

    Shudder - Penny Webster as the Rodney Councillor. The poster girl for the sprawl & roads faction of the future Auckland Council.

  4. Ian says:

    I thought that as a rule the Speaker didn’t meddle in politics. Seems I’m wrong.

  5. Jon C says:

    @Ian He is wearing his Rodney MP hat


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